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Twice a week, I board the 7:43am service from Lilydale train station towards Melbourne’s CBD. This service is a popular one, allowing commuters to arrive anywhere along the train line before 9am.
One stop into my journey, arriving at Mooroolbark station, the carriage’s seats are usually already half to three-quarters full. Then, onto Croydon and Ringwood North, I watch commuters scramble to secure the last seats for the 50-minute journey ahead.
Often the phrase “stand clear” will be angrily repeated several times, as commuters refuse to wait for the next service which will inevitably cause them to be late.CREDIT:AAP
Pulling into Ringwood, five stops in, I watch the expression on the faces of those on the platform as they realise the train is already uncomfortably full. Now the shuffle begins.
Upwards of five people temporarily exit the carriage to allow easier access for those boarding. The section towards the middle of the carriage begins to compress and passengers grasp the few-and-far-between overhead handles for dear life. The temporarily exiled passengers push themselves back in and the metal doors close with a dull clunk.
A few more stops in the 7:43am Lilydale train reaches Box Hill, which boasts a very busy and crowded station situated about halfway along the line. Now bedlam occurs.
Around 10 or 20 people exit the train while 60 to 70 attempt to board. Many wannabe passengers push towards the doors while others give up entirely, backing away in defeat.
Every inch of the carriage is now packed and the driver of the train reaches for their intercom. With the conviction of someone trying to meet a schedule, the driver shouts, "This train is full, please wait for the next service to avoid causing delays, stand clear." Often the phrase "stand clear" will be angrily repeated several times, as commuters refuse to wait for the next service which will inevitably cause them to be late.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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